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Faculty Development, Orientation, Best Practices, Teaching Strategies
Institutes of higher education exist for the purpose of developing, fostering, nurturing, and stimulating the intellectual growth and development of students. The core values of a college education provide students conceptual and practical educational opportunities that focus on improving their skills and knowledge. These skills and knowledge translate into purposeful, real-life learning experiences. However, in the academic community, learning is not restricted to students. Faculty, too, must be supported and provided opportunities for personal and professional growth and development. Although professional development is not a novel concept in the education profession, schools often take up the gauntlet, but fall short of running with it. A commitment to share the collective skills, teaching strategies, and experiences of colleagues in the university community should be one of the institutions core values. The need today for academic rigor and the emphasis on accountability and evidence of professional development of teachers have become key components in faculty performance evaluations in both teaching and research higher educational institutional settings.
This paper examines how a career university addresses professional development by embracing change in its faculty orientation process at the start of the academic year through the implementation of a faculty development program and sustainable model for building a teaching and learning showcase of faculty talent. The orientation program - F.A.C.E.S. (Faculty Academic Community Education Showcase) - provides a series of interactive seminars conducted by and for full-time faculty at the Johnson & Wales University (JWU) Providence, Rhode Island, campus that mirrors their professional expertise, educational best practices, and career experiences within and beyond the JWU academic community. It examines the program goals and objectives, evidence of its evaluation by participants and administration, and the follow-up programs in place to provide further opportunities throughout the academic year that meet faculty needs to learn and engage in a learning environment that translates into and enhances the learning experiences of their students.